The great philosopher Paul David Hewson (otherwise known as Bono) once said, “Music can change the world, because it can change people.” It is for this reason indeed that music holds so much power. It transcends the limits of race, economics, gender, etc., holding meaning for people regardless of who they are and where they come from. It is used as a way to express words that simply cannot be said. The music of Macklemore serves as prime example of this.
Born in Seattle, Washington as Ben Haggerty, Macklemore has always known the power and influence that music holds. Working at a juvenile-detention, Macklemore used his musical talent to promote “education and cultural identity” to incarcerated youth involved in the “Gateways” Program. In this program he taught writing workshops, and promoted rap as a means of expression.
It was not until the early 2000’s that Macklemore’s career as a rap-artist began to take way. Performing in local venues and actively participating in freestyle matches, Macklemore started to become known for his skillful use of words and creative dialect. In 2005 he released his first official album, titled “The Language of My World”, capturing his audiences with his form of “storytelling”.
However it was in this success that he also struggled—Macklemore began to use the money that he earned rapping…on drugs. Becoming addicted to drugs such as Oxycontin, and other narcotics, he started to lose himself, “holing [himself] up in his apartment, not answering the phone.” Knowing that he needed to change, Macklemore became drug-free in 2008, using this experience as an example of overcoming adversity in his music.
Forming a creative partnership with producer Ryan Lewis in 2006, Macklemore went on to release three more albums: “VS. Redux” (2009), “The Unplanned Mixtape” (2009) and “The Heist” (2012); The Heist being his most recent album and focus of his current world tour. Only hours after being released, “The Heist” reached the number one position on the Itunes US Albums chart. The album was also listed at number two on the US Billboard Top 200 list, and went on to sell 78,000 copies.
Personally speaking, Macklemore’s music is among the greatest and most influential music of this decade. His ability to tell a story, and advocate for social change is like non-other. Songs such as “Wing$” and “Same Love” transcend all forms of music—even if you are not “in” to rap music or the hip-hop genre, you will find your self riveted by his words and the power/meaning that they hold. “Wing$” in particular holds so much meaning, that after first listening to it, all I could think was “WOW”. It’s truthful words made me think, and re-evaluate my life.
Gems like this come but only once in a lifetime. Don’t miss out on the musical talent that Macklemore has to offer.
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